2018 Social Media Statements

Sync Digital Solutions 2018

2017 was an astonishingly interesting year in social media. Think about what happened: the new POTUS communicated policy over Twitter, Snapchat was stopped in their tracks when Facebook's Instagram launched a similar service, and LinkedIn proved to many that changing a product when nobody asked for it is a sure fire way to piss off your customer base.

But here's the thing ... social media is just getting started. Evolution is inevitable, and we're about to see a big leap forward. Here are the top 9 trends we're looking at here within the walls of Sync Digital Solutions.

1 - Instagram Takeover

Here's some perspective for you: Super Bowl XLIX is the most watched television event in history with 114 million viewers. Michael Jackson's Thriller is the most sold album in history with 70 million doing that dance in their living rooms to tape, CD, or record.

Over 200 million people use Instagram Stories each month, crushing Snapchat's use by 50 million. By the end of 2018, half of all Instagram users will be posting InstaStories, meaning half of the users are active (which is unheard of).

2 - The Rise of Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented Reality places you into a fantasy world. While gaming is the central platform for AR, social media is not too far behind. Soon, you'll be able to project brands into people's homes and hands with filters, your mom will be seemingly standing next to Hugh Jackman in photos, and shopping will be changed forever.

With the release of the iPhone X and 8, Apple has added a chip that allows the future to intersect with the now. Augmented Reality is going to be a part of our daily lives soon enough.

3 - Influencer Marketing Ramps Up

Letting the public know about your product or service is all that advertising and marketing is. Social media has opened up countless doors to make doing this a much more fluid process. The next level of the experience is influencer marketing though.

Often times, you can look to hospitality as a way of exploring what is coming in the world of marketing, and this industry has been using influencer marketing for years. 90 percent of marketers who actively use influencer marketing as a tool in their kit have reported success.

What is it? Simple, find the people online that have influence over others and try to get them to introduce their following to you.

4 - Generation Z Becomes the Focus

The oldest Gen Zers will be 23 in 2018. They are beginning to enter the labour force, more accepting of social marketing, and will have increased buying power for years to come. This is why they will become so important to strategy in 2018 and beyond. Invest heavily in the platforms they use, but invest properly (in most cases Snapchat advertising is a waste of time and money).

5 - Live Steaming

What was once a novel gimmick has become a mainstream part of social media. Today, brands big and small have started using live streaming to capture the attention of followers.

GORUCK, a backpack manufacturer and the organizer of extreme endurance events, is one example of a medium-sized brand that has grown its reach by live streaming compelling content on Facebook. Thousands of followers tuned in to watch 48-hour coverage of a recent endurance race.

In 2018, more brands will begin to realize the power of live streaming, and will incorporate it into their monthly content plans.

6 - Messaging

Over 2.5 billion people use messaging platforms globally, and yet brands are still primarily focused on connecting with consumers on pure social networks. In 2018, expect brands to invest more time and money in connecting with consumers on messaging platforms. Artificial intelligence, voice assistants and chatbots will enable brands to offer personalized shopping experiences on messaging platforms like Messenger, WhatsApp and Kik.

7 - Twitter 2.0

Here's a secret, as a brand Twitter is fairly useless for most. We at Sync have started to convert client over to other platforms. Even with 280 characters, there is little chance that Twitter will be able to compete in the brand market.

Instead, it's the personalities behind your brands that should be tweeting. Your CEO should be mixing it up, and your Director of Product Development should be active as well. Let's face it, outside of politics, trolling, and complaining, Twitter is pretty much dormant. However, with the right personality your brand can get great traction on the tweet machine.

8 - Facebook Spaces

Facebook isn’t just interested in live video streaming; they’ve been working on a project called Spaces that is designed to allow friends to connect in VR. Given that Facebook owns Oculus, a virtual reality hardware and software company, it is no surprise that the social media giant is developing a platform to make use of this new technology.

Facebook is poised to scale Spaces in 2018. When they do, it is likely that it will be the first successful VR social media product at scale.

9 - Govern Yourself Accordingly

After a series of controversial decisions during the 2016 presidential election, social media platforms have embraced a more hands-on approach to governing conduct on their platforms. Facebook recently turned over thousands of ads that seem to be connected to Russian meddling, and has invested in new AI and human forms of monitoring.

Given the wide criticism that Facebook and Twitter received during 2017, it is likely that these platforms will embrace codes of conduct and governance policies that protect the brands from future criticism.

Conclusion

Be ready. Employ current techniques, but start looking at those above. As always though, be sure to only activate social programs that make sense for your brand. You don't want to over-extend yourself.

This article contains excerpts from this article.

Written by Jay Hall, Chief Strategist

Free Online Marketing Advice from an Expert

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Let me start this by saying I hate the term expert, especially when used to describe one's self, but "Free Online Marketing Advice" is likely one of the most common headlines in the business world, and I wanted you to know that I have some experience under my belt. For our purposes, I'll define expert as a person who take their craft seriously, has a proven track record of success, and when engaged in a conversation about a topic, that person can always contribute positively. Now, for the free advice ...

I'm always hearing businesspeople say they can't get a good gauge or ROI from online marketing. My advice is to stop saying that, and just start putting in the work. Here's why.

  1. Online marketing and real world marketing function under the same logic. Reach is the number of people that picked up the magazine, drove past the billboard, or had the TV on. Views are the number of people that actually looked inside the magazine and saw your ad, looked at your billboard, or sat through the commercial. Interaction is the number of people that tore out that page in the magazine so they could take action, told Siri the website on the billboard, or showed appreciation in some way for the creativity in your commercial. Sales, are the people that bought as a result of the marketing and advertising above.
  2. Let's look at billboards. Reach is fairly easy to guesstimate, but never 100% accurate. Views are impossible to calculate without tracking eye contact. Interaction is also impossible to calculate, and there's a chance that the person will get the reminder from Siri to check out your product or service at an inopportune time, thus forgetting about you forever. Sales; this is the most trackable piece of the puzzle IF your customers learned of you from a single source, your staff always ask "How did you hear of us?", and if you actually record that information centrally. Online, that information is readily available and catalogued for life as long as you know what you're doing. Plus, you don't need a potential customer to remember anything, you just need them to click.
  3. The point of advertising and marketing is to reach as many people as possible within your customer base. In the real world, you can manipulate that data to a degree. In the online world, you can zero in on that data in deeper ways than ever in history.

So here's the second piece of my free tip—stop saying you can't get a good gauge on your online ROI because it's not the marketing principals that are flawed, it's the marketing itself.

One of the most important notes I give clients at Sync is to make sure they give their customers a reason to get excited. Now, this means different strokes for different blokes but ultimately if you're marketing doesn't rev up the potential customer in some way, then the marketing has failed. This is assuming you have a good product or service, of course. If not, there are larger problems than your marketing.

I've seen this time and again; a promotion goes out with very little thought, planning, creativity, and excitement, only to be a colossal waste of resources. The people behind it blame Facebook, or Google, or Cosmo. Then in more cases than not, a well thought out, thoroughly planned, creative, and energetic campaign hits to produce the desired ROI. Those behind the campaign pat themselves on the back for a job well done, but rarely thank Facebook, Google, or Cosmo.

It can take time to find the magic formula but the takeaway is that online marketing is never the problem—you will reach the people if you're doing it right because they're all online ... rather it's the idea that needs to be refined.

So, next time someone asks you if online marketing works, repeat after me, "If you're willing to do it right, then yes, it absolutely does."

Written by Jay Hall, Chief Strategist

It's Hard Being a Woman in Business. - Written by a Man Who is Not a Feminist

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We always hear how hard it can be to function as a woman in business. But, most men discount this idea because they just don't experience what a woman goes through. At Sync, we service and help optimize a lot of LinkedIn accounts and here's what I've noticed.

By and large, men suck as disconnecting personal and professional. I can't tell you how often men InMail or message the female LinkedIn profiles we assist with, starting the conversation by saying, "Hey gorgeous" or "Hello hunny". 

Meanwhile, not one woman has ever messaged a man on the profiles we assist on with similar greetings. They are professional and courteous. This is already an indication of how men choose to treat the females they do business with. But, there's more ...

You have guys asking the women in business out on dates, and frivolous questions like, "What's your favorite flower?" There's also guys who try to covertly get lunch meetings, however can't help themselves but to drop small indicators that they are treating this more like a date. Guys, you may think you're cunning but women are far more seasoned in the game of flirtation than we are.

Here's the thing; regardless of whether you agree that the wage gap is real, or if women have to work that much harder to get to the same position as a man, I am offering first hand perspective how just one aspect is so much harder for a woman in business. Of the women whom we help on LinkedIn, they are are all deeply frustrated by the messages they get.

You know it is possible to see a beautiful woman and not react like a horny comic book fan, right? Physical characteristics should never play into the decision to do business with someone. Now, if you do business together and an obvious connection is there, then perhaps it's worth exploring, BUT ...

"I hope when I go on my LinkedIn or into the office today, that a bunch guys hit on me," is something that's been said by no woman ever. 

Think before you message, and treat your female colleges with the same respect you treat the males.

Written by Jay Hall, Chief Strategist

2018 Better Be the Year You Invest in Video Marketing

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2017 is coming to a close. Can you believe it? We're just months away from shutting down a very strange year in business, politics, sports, and pretty much any other subject. I'll make this short; at the end of 2016 I posted an article about needing to invest in video for marketing. That was based on the graphic below and internal polling.

Many companies still haven't jumped on the marketing trend. I know why. It can be pretty expensive when done right, there's a lot of uncontrollable factors, and it takes time to build great videos.

That's why you need a team like Sync to help you out, and catapult you into the marketing stratosphere. Video requires a long-term commitment, so don't even think about it if you can't commit to a plan and stick with it through the good, the bad, and the ugly. For our clients, the one's that took video strategy seriously, they saw definitive ROI. I mean, internet ROI (interaction such as likes) and actual ROI. Video posts clicked through to carts or reservation pages 38% more than graphics.

The moral of the story is, provide the world with engaging, entertaining, informative, and original content for your chance to relate to a potential customer. That was the moral of the story last year at this time, and I just thought it would be prudent to remind you.

Do you really want to be over 2 years behind on a trend that's creating revenue?

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Business Video Stats That Will Have You Pressing REC

Everyone knows by now that video has taken over as a top performing post type on social media. While you may have thought that video was a fad and everyone would return to reading, these stats prove otherwise. In comparison, these numbers were cut in half just 5 years ago.

This isn't a fad. Your business needs video, and you need it now to stay competitive. Take a look at these jaw dropping numbers.

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What I've Learn After a Year of Putting My Phone Down

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While I write this post I am wearing a Facebook shirt, working on my MacBook Pro which is in a room filled with Apple products. I run an online marketing agency and online ticket portal, amongst other online properties. My staff work remotely for the most part, meaning digital comms are the only way to reach each other 90% of the time. I'm 6'4" and I leave a mighty impactful digital footprint wherever I go.

The iProblem

That said, about a year ago one of the reasons my relationship failed was because I was never putting my phone down. My iPhone was essentially another limb. When a text would chime I would answer within seconds no matter what was happening. You could reach me at 4pm and 4am (I never sleep so I was okay with it).

In short, my phone was controlling me. But let's be honest, "phone" is an underwhelming term for the smart devices in our pockets. My iPhone has over 700 apps and connects me with the world. Truly, I could never talk to another living soul again, and I'd still know everything I need to know.

The iSolution

Enough was enough, and it was time for a change. I consciously made a few decisions and then built on them. The first was that just because I'm awake doesn't mean I need to be reachable. So, I put my phone on do not disturb mode after 7pm and only allowed family and my GM to have settings that would slip past it. Then, most days I turned the sounds off on my phone during the day. Those two decisions changed my life.

No longer can you always get a response from me within seconds, and the digital anxiety (I guess you could call it) brought on by a chime that I just had to get to, melted away. Then I noticed something interesting. I kept forgetting my phone at home when I was going out with family. This is something I would have never done a year ago, because it was always top of mind.

Through all of this, you know what I learned?

My businesses still run just as smoothly as they did before. My time with those I care about is so much more intimate now. My clients are happy. My friends and family are happy ... I am happy.

Basically, the work still gets done, but somehow in less time with less contact. Of course there are still plenty of days when emergencies pop-up and I have that phone stuck to me like guerrilla glue, but once those emergencies pass I'm back to being content without my mechanical appendage.

Life is just better. I hope you can do it too.

Written by Jay Hall, Chief Strategist

The Argument for Less Privacy

Privacy Online - Sync Digital Solutions

In this ever evolving world you can go to sleep with one understanding and wake up in the morning needing to learn the "new way of things". With the digital innovations that fly at us at a rapid pace, it is an exciting time to be alive. However, as we innovate the public becomes more concerned about privacy.

Everyday on my feeds I see someone with real concerns about social sites and the use of their data, the government watching our every move, and other privacy related concerns. I get why you're so worried, but what you may not have noticed while sharing articles about the evil intentions of Facebook is that less privacy has actually made for a better life.

Now, I'm not saying we should give away our rights and allow everyone to know everything about us, but the current use of information is actually pretty constructive. If 9/11 proved anything, it's that the unexpected can happen at any moment. Data sharing and a more open society have helped aid agencies in preventing many different terrorist attacks around the globe.

Outside of a little less privacy keeping us safe, it's also keeping us sane. Remember the days before PVR when you'd actually have to watch TV commercials? It feels like the times of cavemen and striking sticks and stones to build a fire.

The reason we hated advertising so much is because it wasn't catered to us. Now, with a little less privacy and a technology called retargeting, ads are being served up to us based on our activities and interests. This means that while there are more ads popping up online, they are more relevant.

Letting go of some data through what is called a pixel is what we needed to make this future possible. The pixel installs a tiny scrap of data known as a cookie in your browser. It's hard at work around the clock so that if you're looking for a car, but not a house, you're not seeing a ton of ads from real estate agents. Instead, car ads will be popping up around the web (wherever you surf) and the Internet Gods will help you find that new vehicle you're dreaming about all day long.

I see this as a good thing. Not being a parent, I don't care about formula or diapers and I don't want ads for those items popping up all over the internet. Instead, I get ads for digital tech, accessories for my car, items I could buy for date night, and trips. That's what I want to see, and that is why advertising online is superior to real world advertising.

Now of course, in a perfect world there would be no terrorism and no advertising, but this less than perfect world of ours has both so we need to figure out how we co-exist with those realities. Let's face it, you're not doing anything wrong online and the only data that sites like Facebook, Google, and Bing can pull is the data you're putting out there into the world anyway. It's simple to keep your privacy in tact if you'd like, just unplug. Short of that, you'll have to make what some might call compromises, and what I call adjustments.

Absolute privacy can only exist if we share absolutely nothing, which isn't happening so instead of fighting it, look at the revolution of personalized ads and identification profiles within government agencies as progressive. Then, if any person or company steps over the lines of acceptable limits then punish them by taking them to task.

Domain Renewal Scams: iDNS Canada

You may or may not have gotten a letter from a company called iDNS Canada (also known as Internet Domain Name Services). iDNS is a company that preys on people who don’t fully understand the domain registration service by sending letters in the mail about their expiring domain and requests payment. This scam is very similar to the one that went a couple of years ago by the Domain Registry of Canada (DROC).

What this company is actually doing is scamming money from you and trying to transfer your domain away from your current provider, in order to try and scam more money from you later on. Here are some important things to note so you can avoid being scammed when it comes to your domain:

  • Real domain registration providers will never send you a letter in the mail.
  • Report any letters you receive to ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers)
  • Report all letters you receive for all domains to the Canadian Spam Reporting Centre

iDNS is not the first, or last, company to try doing this. If you are ever unsure about something, always ask your web provider first. Remember, if you are a Sync client, and we manage your domain, you will never lose it. So, you can sit back and relax because we’ll take care of it.

Example of the type of letter iDNS sends out:

iDNS Scam